• Hate groupsHate groups increase for second consecutive year, while Patriot groups decline

    The number of hate groups in the United States rose for a second year in a row in 2016, according to the SPLC annual census of hate groups and other extremist organizations, released yesterday. The most dramatic growth was the near-tripling of anti-Muslim hate groups — from 34 in 2015 to 101 last year. Figures compiled by the FBI dovetail with those of the SPLC – and the latest FBI statistics show that hate crimes against Muslims grew by 67 percent in 2015, the year in which Trump launched his campaign. In contrast to the growth of hate groups, antigovernment “Patriot” groups saw a 38 percent decline — plummeting from 998 groups in 2015 to 623 last year.

  • Immigration & crimeNo link between immigration and increased crime: Research

    Political discussions about immigrants often include the claim that there is a relationship between immigration patterns and increased crime. However, results of a new study find no links between the two. In fact, immigration actually appears to be linked to reductions in some types of crimes, according to the findings. “It’s important to base our public policies on facts and evidence rather than ideologies and baseless claims that demonize particular segments of the U.S. population without any facts to back them up,” says one of the researchers.

  • GunsTemporary gun removal law shows promise in preventing suicides

    A Connecticut law enacted in 1999 to allow police to temporarily remove guns from potentially violent or suicidal people likely prevented dozens of suicides, according to a new study. In their review of 762 gun-removal cases, the authors calculate that for every 10 to 20 instances of temporary gun seizures, one suicide was prevented.

  • GunsHouse ends rule preventing mentally ill people from buying guns

    The House voted 235-180 to allow mentally ill people to buy and own guns. Lawmakers overturned a regulation which went into effect last year – and which affected about 75,000 people – which required the Social Security Administration to relay names of Social Security recipients diagnosed with mental health conditions, such as extreme anxiety and schizophrenia, and who are considered incapable of managing their own affairs. The names of these individuals were added to a database of citizens who are ineligible to purchase a firearm.

  • Domestic terrorismTwo Texas mosques burned to the ground this month

    By Sanya Mansoor

    The Islamic Center of Victoria was destroyed by a massive fire Saturday, less than three weeks after the partly constructed Islamic Center of Lake Travis suffered the same fate. The two fires come amid a time of increased unease within Muslim communities across the country.

  • School shootingSchool shootings in U.S. linked to increased unemployment

    A rigorous new study of a quarter-century of data has found that economic insecurity is related to the rate of gun violence at K-12 and postsecondary schools in the United States. When it becomes more difficult for people coming out of school to find jobs, the rate of gun violence at schools increases.

  • Smart gunsDo Americans want to buy ‘smart’ guns?

    By Lacey Wallace

    “Smart gun” refers to firearms that include some sort of safety device designed to make sure that the gun can be fired only by an authorized user. These safety devices include fingerprint recognition, wearable “tags” that a gun can recognize and other similar features. Smart guns are not yet widely available on the market. But would Americans actually buy smart guns? We need more studies with larger, nationally representative samples and more detailed questions about smart guns. However, my study sheds light on how subgroups of Americans feel about the issue. Not all gun owners or nonowners feel the same way about smart guns. Support is not evenly divided by political party. American attitudes toward smart guns are complex and do not necessarily follow the patterns we might expect.

  • Law enforcementPublic view of police and body-worn cameras

    With heightened public and media interest, there is a national push to expand the use of body-worn cameras (BWCs) by law enforcement. However, there is limited research and only anecdotal evidence suggesting that the public supports the use of these cameras in policing. A new study reveals general public perceptions with some unexpected results.

  • Mass murderIs mass murder becoming a form of protest?

    By Lisa Wade

    If there’s one thing Americans can agree upon, it might be that people – no matter how angry they are – shouldn’t be indiscriminately firing guns into crowds. Yet mass shootings are on the rise, with the shooting at the Fort Lauderdale airport just the latest example. I’m fearful that what we’re seeing isn’t just an increase in violence, but the normalization of a habit, a new behavior recognized as a way to express an objection to the way things are. That is, I’m afraid that mass murder may be becoming – to the horror of almost all of us, but to the liking of a violent few – a form of protest. The terrifying part is that once protest tools become part of the repertoire, they are diffused across movements and throughout society. Perhaps that’s why we see such a range of motivations among these mass murderers. It has become an obvious way to express an objection, and the discontented know they can get their point across.

  • TerrorismFBI arrests wife of Orlando shooter Omar Mateen

    Noor Salman, the wife of Omar Mateen, the gunman who carried out the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history when he killed forty-nine people at an Orlando, Florida, night club, was arrested by the FBI in San Francisco. she is expected to face charges of aiding and abetting and obstruction of justice.

  • CrimeDeadly thoughts of offenders may hold answer to reducing crime

    It’s a figure of speech many of us have likely said during an argument or frustrating situation without really meaning. For a small percentage of the population though, the phrase, “I could kill you,” is not so meaningless. Identifying criminal offenders with homicidal ideation – thoughts of committing deadly violence, regardless of action – could change how we sentence and treat some of the most serious offenders.

  • GunsGun violence research dramatically underfunded, understudied compared to other leading causes of death in U.S.

    More than 30,000 people die each year from gun violence in the U.S., a higher rate of death than any industrialized country in the world. Funding and publication of gun violence research are disproportionately low compared to other leading causes of death in the United States, according to new research.

  • Law enforcementBlack men nearly 3 times as likely to die due to police action

    A new study found that black males are nearly three times as likely to be killed by police  action as white males, while Hispanic males are more than one-and-a-half times as likely to fall victim. The study used national death records from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s Wide-Ranging Online Data for Epidemiology Research (WONDER) database from 2010-2014. The study found that, of the 2,285 deaths attributed to law enforcement action over that five-year period (1.5 deaths per million in U.S. population per year), 96 percent occurred among males 10 years or older.

  • Berlin terror attackCalls in Germany for bolstering surveillance in wake of Berlin attack

    Klaus Bouillon, the interior minister in the German state of Saarland, said that “It is time to eliminate the barriers to monitoring suspects’ telephone conversations.” He also urged the revamping of a law for monitoring popular online encrypted messaging services, such as WhatsApp, and said that next month he would make a formal proposal to that effect. Bouillon, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU), said, “It cannot be the case that a company can make billions with WhatsApp, while at the same allowing criminals to organize, direct young people and obstruct our authorities by not providing the necessary encryption codes.”

  • Berlin terror attackBerlin attack: security intelligence has limits in preventing truck-borne terror

    By John Blaxland

    The Christmas market truck assault in Berlin, which has left twelve dead and dozens injured, is a disturbing echo of the truck-borne attack on Bastille Day celebrants on the Nice promenade in July. How could such events be allowed to happen? Why weren’t intelligence agencies in Germany and France able to stay one step ahead of the perpetrators? The role of the security and intelligence agencies to remain vigilant and seek to monitor extremist elements will undoubtedly endure. The secret of their success will continue to be keeping their successes secret. However, this does not absolve the rest of society from remaining engaged in community, by being inclusive, welcoming, and helpful, while also maintaining a level of vigilance many had come to associate with a bygone era.